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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Maureen Dowd: Trump, Working-Class Zero

It’s not unknown, of course.

In ancient Egypt, there was the symbol of the ouroboros, the snake that eats its own tail. Nerve-addled octopuses sometimes consume their own arms.
But we’ve never watched a president so hungrily devour his own presidency.
Soon, there won’t be anything left except the sound of people snickering.

Consumed by his paranoia about the deep state, Donald Trump has disappeared into the fog of his own conspiracy theories. As he rages in the storm, Lear-like, howling about poisonous fake news, he is spewing poisonous fake news.

The Hirshhorn has a sold-out exhibit of Yayoi Kusama’s stunning infinity mirror rooms. But they are nothing compared to the infinity mirror room of Trump’s mind, now on display a mile and a half away at the White House.

Many voters who took a chance on the real estate mogul and reality TV star hoped he would grow more mature and centered when confronted with the august surroundings of the White House and immensity of the job. But instead of improving in office, Trump is regressing. The office has not changed Trump. Trump has changed the office.

He trusts his beliefs more than facts. So many secrets, so many plots, so many shards of gossip swirl in his head, there seems to be no room for reality.

His grandiosity, insularity and scamming have persuaded Trump to believe he can mold his own world. His distrust of the deep state, elites and eggheads — an insecurity inflamed by Steve Bannon — makes it hard for him to trust his own government, or his own government’s facts.  (Continues)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hillary Clinton to run for the White House one more time.

Hillary Clinton will run for president. Again.

No inside information informs this prediction. No argument is advanced as to whether her run is a good or a bad idea—there are many ways to make a case either way. Instead this is just a statement of simple facts (if facts mean anything anymore, that is). And the facts are clear that the former secretary of state is doing everything she needs to do to run for the White House one more time. If she finds a path to do so, she will take it. And I can prove it.

Consider. Shortly after Clinton’s shock-the-world, hysteria-inducing defeat last November, the Clinton Global Initiative announced plans to cease operations. The CGI—the most scandal-plagued arm of the Clinton Foundation—was a ground zero of grief for the Clinton campaign. Labeled a slush fund for political operations, paid for by foreign governments, it was an endless and easy target of complaints about conflicts of interest and graft. Yet despite pleas to do so by various supporters throughout the 2016 campaign, the Clintons time and again refused to shut it down. Which raises the question: What advantage, other than a political one, is there to doing so now? 

Similarly, why did the Clintons allow rumors to circulate—rumors they still haven’t officially quashed—that the former secretary of state was/is/might be considering a run for mayor of New York City? For the thrill of it? Out of spite toward the current mayor, who supported her candidacy for the White House? Or might there be another reason to keep alive the idea that Hillary Clinton’s political fortunes aren’t in the rear-view mirror?

This month, Clinton signed a book deal with Simon & Schuster. That alone isn’t noteworthy. This, after all, would be her seventh book, if you count her campaign policy venture/insomnia cure, Stronger Together. But added to all the other activities afoot, it raises a few questions. Does she really have that much more to say? Or might there be another reason, besides money that she does not need, to go on a book tour, answer humiliating questions about losing to Donald Trump and stay in the headlines?

And just days ago, Clinton trolled Trump on Twitter over the courtroom defeat of his executive order banning citizens from seven majority-Muslim nations. She didn’t have to do that, of course. Most defeated rivals disappear after their loss. Instead, Clinton sounded very much like she was still on the campaign trail. (Because, of course, she is.)

Finally, consider last November’s concession speech to Trump. Absent in her remarks was any indication, as one might have expected, that she was going gentle into that good night, handing the baton to a new generation or even to a new leader. Instead, Clinton talked more about the future—explicitly including herself in that future—than she did about the past.
“I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday, someone will,” she said, adding, “and hopefully sooner than we might think right now.” She then quoted a line of Scripture: “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” And she concluded, tellingly, with this: “So my friends, let us have faith in each other, let us not grow weary, let us not lose heart, for there are more seasons to come. And there is more work to do.”

This was not Richard Nixon’s bitter “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” when he lost a race for governor in 1962 and thought his political career was over. This was someone looking ahead. More seasons to come.(Continues at POLITICO)